aviation history

For National Book Lovers Day: our new book

Amelia Earhart Reading,” International Women’s Air & Space Museum,

August 9 was National Book Lovers Day and we celebrated by visiting some of the places in Seattle that are featured in our new book, 111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss, which begins shipping today.

The book is part of the international 111 Places series, which offers locals and experienced travelers guides to hidden treasures, overlooked gems, and charming curious places in great cities.

For the Seattle guide, I’m pointing readers to many airport and aviation-related items around town, including the art collections at both Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and King County International Airport – Boeing Field (BFI).

Richard Elliot’s ‘Eyes on the World’ at SEA
Brad Miller’s “30,000 Feet” Photo by Joe Freemans Courtesy 4Culture

The Museum of Flight is represented in the book, with the story of the Taylor Aerocar, an early flying car that worked.

Taylor Aerocar III, one wing folded back for ground travel, one wing attached for flight.

And we also point people to the tiny pocket park on the shores of Lake Union where they’ll find a plaque marking the spot where the first Boeing plane took off.

The plaque reads “From this site, Boeing launched it first airplane, the B&W, in 1916.”

Of course, there are plenty of other non-aviation sites in the book, including the Giant Shoe Museum, the world’s greenest commercial building, a haunted staircase, the Rubber Chicken Museum, a shop where you can buy personalized magic wands, the place where you can rent a rowboat for free, and lots more.

We hope you’ll get a copy of 111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss from your favorite bookseller.

Aviation treasures returning to National Air & Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum has been closed for a while to reboot with two dozen new exhibits. At least 8 of the galleries are set to open this fall.

One of those returning soon is The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age, an update of the popular exhibition of the same name that has housed the 1903 Wright Flyer since 2003.

As a preview, the museum shared pictures of some of the artifacts we’ll see when the exhibit reopens and pointed us to aviation-themed treasures in the vaults.

12 seconds. That is how long Orville Wright’s first powered flight in the 1903 Wright Flyer lasted. The Wright Brothers used this stopwatch to time the December 1903 flight. The watch will be on display in the reimagined Wright Brothers exhibition.

On

Once the Wright Brothers showed how ‘easy’ it was to fly, it didn’t take long for the public to become fascinated with airplanes and airplane-themed things. And for flight themes to appear on jewelry, in games, and in art.

Here are a few great objects from the National Air & Space Museum’s collection that we hope we’ll see when the galleries reopen. See you there!

(All images courtesy of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum)

Board Game, Lindbergh, King Collection (A20040289048).
Pillbox with an airplane on the lid
Gold-colored small jewelry charm in the shape of an early monoplane with a visible fuselage frame and propeller that spins.

How DO Toilets Work in Space?

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is getting a massive makeover that includes the construction and renovation of 23 galleries.

As part of that process, which is set to be completed sometime in 2025, the whole museum has been closed since March.

But the west wing is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022 with new exhibitions that explore a wide variety of aviation themes, including the Wright Brothers’ story, planets and moons, early aviation, high-speed technology, and other topics.

In advance of the opening, the Smithsonian is adopting a new brand identity and logomark for the National Air and Space Museum that “uses positive and negative space to create a stylized craft that simultaneously suggests both aviation and space flight.”

Look for it at the end of this inspiring “Space for Everyone” video that gives a nod to “airheads, space cases, flight fanatics, armchair astronauts, and the casually curious.” And to those who are “captivated by the miracle of flight and those who are just happy to make their flight.”

See where you land.

What I learned about Dallas Love Field Airport

The team that produces “Love Field Stories,” the official podcast of Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), was kind enough to include me as a guest for two upcoming episodes.

The two-parter delves into the unique history of the airport and highlights some of the wonderful art that can be spotted in and around the terminal.

The episodes will be live-streamed on Tuesday, April 12, and on May 10 at 12:30 p.m. (Central) on Love Field’s Facebook and YouTube and will include images of many of the historical events and artwork we discuss.

The podcast can also be heard on Apple Podcast, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora.

To produce the podcast, DAL teamed me up with Bruce Bleakley, who is an aviation historian and co-author of The Love Evolution: A Centennial Celebration of Love Field Airport and Its Art.

We called it a conversation. But really, it’s me getting to pick the brain of the airport’s historian. I asked Bleakley about how, in 1958, Dallas Love Field’s new terminal building came to have the first moving walkway at any airport in the world. And why there was an ice-skating rink in the terminal. And about the role that Dallas Love Filed played on that day in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on the DAL tarmac.

In this two-part podcast, we also learn the stories behind some of the great art that passengers walk over and walk by at DAL.

And I get Bleakley to tell us which city’s name is spelled wrong in the airport’s first commissioned piece of art. A detail he didn’t even share in his book.

I hope you’ll tune in!

Courtesy Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas